Where we work
We work on the Greek island of Samos to support the most vulnerable members of of the refugee community.
The Situation on Samos
Samos’ refugee camp is in a state of crisis. Originally built for 650, the camp is currently home to 3,500 refugees (as of February 2021), coming from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Needless to say, the camp’s amenities are stretched to breaking point; showers do not work, bathroom doors do not lock, and toilets overflow with human waste. Unfit for human habitation and overcrowded, the camp can no longer house the entire refugee population. Many make shelters outside the camp’s barbed wire fences, in an area of scrubland known as the ‘jungle’.
Here there is no electricity or running water, and with the path to camp being unlit, the use of any facilities at night is unsafe and impossible. The hillside that houses the camp and the so-called ‘jungle’ is also exposed to the elements; gale force winds, torrential rains and freezing temperatures in the winter and in the summer, blistering heat.
In addition to this, there is no official waste disposal unit in the camp, meaning rubbish and refuse collects between people’s shelters, inviting rats, snakes and other vermin to plague the lives of the camp’s residents.
Food on Samos
The food situation only exacerbates these dire and inhumane living conditions. The queue for food can take hours, and even after this long wait there is no guarantee that there is enough food to go round.
Those who do receive a food parcel are given partially defrosted microwaveable meals. These are regularly past their sell-by-dates, with mould gathering on the top, and the contents crawling with maggots.
Project Armonia was established in July 2019 to address this failure. Our free-restaurant serves warm, nutritious meals to those who need it most, such as pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, disabled people, and those no longer eligible to receive food in camp.
Media Resources to Learn More
People risk their lives to make the crossing to Europe, expecting safety. Instead, they are met with dangerous, unsanitary and deplorable conditions. If you want to know more about it, please find below links about the situation on Samos.
- The Scenic Isle Where the World’s Chaos Comes Home to Roost, New York Times, 02/07/2020
- Samos And The Anatomy Of A Maritime Push-Back, bellingcat, 05/20/2020
- Frontex at Fault: European Border Force Complicit in ‘Illegal’ Pushbacks, bellingcat, 10/23/2020
- Pushback Report 2020: Mare Liberum monitors the human rights situation in the Aegean Sea using its own ships. In their 2020 Pusback Report, they counted at least 9,000 people illegaly pushed back.
- On an Island that welcomed migrants residents and refugees feel abandoned, The New Yorker, 06/13/2019